Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) System

The United Kingdom (UK) left the European Union (EU) on February 1, 2020. At the time, the EU and the UK agreed on a transition period lasting until December 31, 2020, during which EU law, including EU law on aviation safety, would continue to apply to the UK. The EU and the UK have used this period to negotiate an agreement on their future partnership. 

Following negotiations, the European Commission has reached, on December 24, 2020, a trade and cooperation  agreement with the United Kingdom on the terms of its future cooperation with the European Union. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement is applied provisionally as of 1 January 2021.

On January 1, 2021 EU aviation safety legislation, including Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 establishing EASA, no longer applies to the UK. As of that date, the UK is  considered as a third country and no longer has the status of an ‘EASA Member State’

Only two aspects of aviation safety cooperation are addressed in the future framework on trade and cooperation, namely certain simplifications on the approvals covering design and manufacture of aeronautical products. 

The EU aviation safety system is based on the sharing of roles and responsibilities between the EU Member States and EASA, whereby EASA is responsible for approval of organisations located in third countries – including the UK – that wish to provide goods and services to the EU, and the Member States are responsible for approval of organisations located in the EU and the licensing of aircrew and other aeronautical personnel. It is also the Member States (and not EASA) who are responsible for implementation and oversight of aspects such as passenger rights, economic licensing of airlines and screening of passengers at EU airports.

With respect to the responsibilities of EASA the above means the following: 

  • As regards organisations located in the UK, except for design and production organisations: those organisations which applied for EASA certificates under the ‘early applications’ process, are issued with those certificates by EASA on December 31, 2020, effective from January 1, 2021;
  • As regards design and production organisations located in the UK they are governed by the trade and cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK. For production, the agreement provides for mutual recognition of the production certifications and production oversight systems.
    For Design, whilst the agreement does not provide for mutual recognition of any certificates, it does allow for certain amount of simplification in the acceptance or validation of such certificates. The detailed technical implementing procedures implementation of the aviation safety part of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement are currently under preparation and will be provided soon.

The Agency has provided answers to the more frequently asked questions (FAQs) concerning the consequences of the withdrawal of the UK from the EASA system.

More information on FAQs can be found on our dedicated webpage:

More information on Early Applications related to Brexit can be found on our dedicated webpage: